Friday, August 31, 2012

Turn Facebook Teal

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  As many here know I have been battling Ovarian Cancer since May 2008.  There is no test to detect Ovarian Cancer as there is for Breast Cancer and Colon Cancer and many others.  The symptoms are so minimal and many would be associated with monthly PMS.  70% of women who are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer will die.  I am asking all who read this to PLEASE change your cover on your Facebook page to Teal.  Google Ovarian Cancer Symptoms.  Share them with the women in your life.  Help bring awareness to this silent killer.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

My Olympic Dream

Since I can remember watching the Olympics I dreamed of participating and knew one day I would be there with all the other athletes from all the other countries, the excitement, the pounding hearts, the winners taking their place on the podium, the medals.

  I knew my sports weren't currently included, but I was confident as the years went by that someday at least one of them would be included and I would finally be able to compete and make my family proud.  Other sports were added throughout the years, but not the three I had long awaited. Alas, I had to come to terms to the fact that perhaps, even those who were ordained for greatness may not have the chance.  So, today, I give up my dream to finally compete and win an Olympic medal, to march in the opening ceremony, to be an Olympian.  But, if anyone ever hears that Baton Twirling, Hula-Hooping and/or Pogo Sticking have been added to the lineup of Olympian events, please contact me immediately!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A New Day

After 17 and a half full time years and tack on another 7 years part time, I am saying goodbye to the College of Southern Nevada as their Performing Arts Center Director.  I absolutely loved working at the college.  Starting as a student production assistant, to lighting designer, to lighting director, box office manager, house manager, assistant director and finally director for the past 10 years, I'm retiring.  I loved working in theatre and at an educational institution. The vibe around a college is just very high energy every day.

 So many friends called to ask how I was doing, was I second-guessing my decision, was I sad?  No!  I have accomplished everything I ever wanted to at the center.  I was on more committees than I can count on both hands and feet. I took work home everyday. I loved every minute. But the last four years on chemo, five surgeries, my administrative assistant removed and not refilled adding to the daily responsibilities, took its toll. It was getting more difficult to put in the hours that I was used to doing. And once the facility was everything I had hoped to accomplish, with equipment and more importantly compliant to all safety regulations (which took three years!) the challenge just wasn't there.

Then there is the family.  Parents are getting older and medical issues occur with a little more frequency. Husband is retired...well sorta! Grandkids are growing quickly. I want more time for family. More trips to Disneyland with the kiddos. I used to keep track of my hours at work.  After I had accumulated over 800 days (not hours!) of overtime (time over eight hours, I was salary so no OT) I realized those were days/hours that really should of been spent with family. You can't get any of that time back. I was committed and very dedicated to my job.  That's how I was raised.  Work hard. But at the same time, sacraficed time that could have been spent with family.

Sure, their are many, many friends I will miss, my staff and particularly the two theatres I managed. But I walked out of the doors yesterday, filled with joy, sans a huge key ring, felt the sun on my face and a whole new world before me.  Yee Ha!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Angels in Our Midst

"People come into our life disguised as angels, and sometimes angels come into our life disguised as people."

Sometimes it gets so hard.  The past three years seem like a blur.  Austin, Texas presenting at the NISOD conference.  Going out with friends.  Severe pain, nausea.  Trying to get an earlier flight home to no avail.  The long flight home.  Immediately going to the ER.  "You have a large pelvic mass, you need to see your GYN right away." Calling Beni, "do you need me to come home?"  "No, I'm not worried." Seeing the GYN.  "This isn't anything to dick around with."  Seeing the GYN oncologist/surgeon.  Scheduling surgery. Being blissfully ignorant that this really could be anything serious. Waking up in incruciating pain. Hearing the words, "ovarian cancer." Starting chemo, every three weeks for 6 months.  98% survival rate. No fears. Truly understanding nausea, bone pain. Finishing the treatment.  Being blissfully ignorant of the recurrence rate of ovarian cancer. Feeling back to normal after a year. Climbing hills looking for the perfect Christmas tree. Excruciating pain. Non-stop vomiting. Waiting in the ER for hours. Non-stop vomiting. Being admitted.  Non-stop vomiting. CT scans with contrast. "Nothing." Non-stop vomiting. IVs and bursting veins. "It's probably the gall bladder." Gall bladder surgery. Being discharged.  Non-stop vomiting.  Ambulance ride to ER. Being admitted. Non-stop vomiting. Wondering if I am dieing.  Three weeks in hospital, no food, no drinks, just IV.  Non-stop vomiting. Certain I'm dieing. Convincing the doctors that something is wrong. DUH! Convincing the doctors to do exploratory surgery on Christmas Eve.  "Blockage. Tumor.  Intestinal resection." Doctor indicates dismal outcome. Wound infection. Collapsed lung. Watching New Years fireworks from hospital window. Discharge from hospital after almost a month. Recovery. Contacting Mayo Clinic.  Setting up appointment.  Meeting with new doctors.  A week of tests.  Scheduling aggressive second debulking and abdominal port. Surgery. More time in hospital. More cancer on kidney and in intestines. IV/IP chemo every 3 weeks for 6 months. Abdominal port removed.  December CT scan. "Cancer returned, no cure." Chance of 5 year survival 4%. No longer blissfully ignorant. Sign up for clinical trial in Phoenix. Check with local oncologist for a "plan B." Clinical trial canceled.  Plan B. Four months of chemo every other week. Ongoing pain in side.  CT scan. "Liver mets increased." Change chemo--weekly for 6 months. CT scan. "Liver mets decreased." Continue chemo same dose every other week. Christmas at home with family.  Another New Year.  Hopeful no longer in my vocabulary.  Nausea is normal.  Not having hair-normal. Working and sleeping. Waking up in a panic not able to breathe is normal. Wondering if this is the year.

Somewhere in the blur some new friends find their way into my world.  Only a handful of old friends care to deal with chemo girl.  I have learned little things mean more.  Phone calls, emails, cards. Some how always when needed most. I know they haven't a clue that I've had a bad night, or read more grim statistics, felt a new pain.  Somehow the right words or image that lets me breathe in and out once more.

I tried to think of some New Year resolutions.  Eat better?  Try not to go to bed before 6pm? Remember my vitamins?  I don't know, seems like it should be something bigger.

I will appreciate more. The sunny days, trees, flowers, family and those friends who somehow found their way to my world.  The friends who stayed old and new.  My angels. I will remember to thank God for angels.